By Janelle Weaver – Santa Cruz Sentinel
Posted: 01/12/2010 04:33:02 PM PST
SANTA CRUZ — The new pedestrian bridge over the San Lorenzo River has received the Monterey Bay chapter of the American Public Works Association’s Project of the Year Award, it was announced Monday.
The 320-foot bridge runs parallel to Highway 1 near River Street.
“The first time I saw it, I called it the Golden Skate Bridge,” said bicyclist Tom Powell, 60, who pointed out its usefulness for skateboarders. “It reminds me of a miniature version of the Golden Gate Bridge.”
Until this bridge was built, there was no east west pedestrian corridor from Water Street north, said associate civil engi neer Joshua Spangrud, who managed the project.
“It completes the bicycle network and provides a safe northerly river crossing,” Spangrud said.
Powell added: “It’s the nic est bridge by far because it accommodates bicyclists and people at the same time.”
Daren Harper, 24, said, “It makes it a lot easier to get across town.”
Spangrud said the color “reduces maintenance costs for the city because you don’t have to paint it every couple of years.” The pre fabricated steel design also helped to control costs.
The $2.6 million project, which would have cost $5 mil lion if done according to the original concrete design, had
been on the drawing board for about 10 years by the time it was completed in January 2009, Spangrud said. City engineers had to get envi ronmental approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service, which delayed the start of construction.
“As far as city construc tion projects go, this one ran very smoothly,” Span grud said. Funds for the project came from Proposition 40 grants and state programs meant to improve congestion, air qual ity and parkways. The city teamed up with engineers from TRC Cos. Inc., Syblon Reid Construction Inc., and Parsons Brinckerhoff Con struction Services to build the project.
The city is now working on a project that will extend the adjacent bike path under Highway 1 to the Tannery Arts Center.
“Anything the city can do to facilitate bike travel through the city will be a benefit to the future,” Spangrud said.